Who says homemade pierogies are hard to make?

pierogies summary: our favourite brand of supermarket pierogies has disappeared; so has our favourite brand of yoghurt; it turns out making pierogies at home is ridiculously easy; so is yoghurt… (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Whine alert: Sigh… There are even fewer choices on our supermarket shelves and our favourite brands are no longer available to us.

yoghurt and pierogies A few months ago, when it was still too warm outside to have the oven on overnight to make yoghurt, we went to the supermarket to replenish our stash. And suddenly we wondered if our name was Hubbard.

Yes. The shelf where our favourite yoghurt (made in Quebec, with offices across Canada, including one in Mississauga) should have been was bare! The most reasonable looking alternative that appears to be made in Canada (The “made with 100% Canadian milk” cow logo is on the lid). But googling, I see that the company’s headquarters are in California. Really?!

After staring in frustration and wondering what we were going to do about yoghurt, we were suddenly reminded that we didn’t have any emergency pierogies in the freezer. We hurried to the freezer aisle.

Augh!! Our favourite brand was there but the only flavour was simulated bacon and cheese. Simulated bacon?! Does anyone want simulated bacon?? I think not.

When we found a store employee, we asked what was going on.

He told us they were no longer carrying these brands because, “Well, um, they weren’t sure, um, head office, um, we just sell what they send; um, sorry.”

And we went into a decline.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, when buying milk and butter, we bit the bullet and decided to buy a different brand of pierogies. (We tried No-name pierogies a while back and they are really Bflat.) The new brand wasn’t terrible. But they weren’t great either.

Suddenly, we realized that we should just make our own! And while we were at it, we’d make our own yoghurt too, using the California brand as a starter.

I’m pleased to report that the yoghurt turned out brilliantly! Of course it did. Why on earth did we stop making it? It’s easily as good and markedly less expensive.

Time for homemade pierogies! When I was mixing the dough, I completely forgot that we had made pierogies before! T thought we should use thinly rolled pasta dough (ie: with an egg) but I thought that using really thinly rolled out chapati dough would work just as well. We decided to look on the internet to get permission. I found several places that said that even though some people did use eggs, to omit the eggs.

Tasting Poland had the most convincing reason to omit the egg:

Introductory word: usually we make the pierogi dough without eggs as ingredients. However, in some recipes there are eggs, and indeed, they are used in some Polish households. The truth is that the addition of whole eggs (or just yolks) to the pierogi dough makes it more rigid when cooked. For most people it is not an advantage, so we recommend using the traditional recipe, without eggs. It results in a softer dough, which – despite its delicacy – will not fall apart.
 
– Tasting Poland,
Polish pierogi dough recipe (original)

pierogiesshaping pierogiesshaping pierogies

While I was looking at various recipes, I also looked at various pages and videos outlining shaping techniques. I really liked the way that some people pleated the edges. Wow. I think we may have to make ravioli (or agnolotti, if you prefer that term) this way!

pierogies Here’s how we made pierogies this time round:

Pierogies stuffed with Potatoes and Cheese

Potato Stuffing

  • 3 medium baking potatoes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • butter
  • cheddar cheese, grated

Pierogi Dough

  • 1.75 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 0.25 c 100% whole wheat flour
  • ~1 tsp kosher salt
  • boiling water

Garnish

  • onions, sliced thinly
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • plain yoghurt

preparation

  1. Potatoes: Put UNpeeled potatoes into cold salted water, cover, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, reserving the potato water for the dough. Set potatoes aside briefly.
  2. Dough: In a medium sized bowl, stir flour and salt together. Using a wooden spoon, stir just enough HOT water (if you made a mistake and threw the potato water down the drain, use just boiled water from the kettle) to create a ball of dough. As soon as you can touch it comfortably, knead the soft dough until it is smooth (about 5 minutes). Form into a ball. Wrap tightly and set aside on the counter for about an hour. You can also refrigerate it overnight.
  3. Make the filling:Mash the potatoes. Add butter, seasalt and pepper and mash a little more. Allow to cool. When the potatoes are cool to the touch, stir in the roughly chopped cheese (if you don’t have cheddar, use whatever cheese you have on hand: mozzarella, farmers’… you choose). Set aside.
  4. Garnish: Heat oil in a cast iron pan. Caramelize the sliced onions and mushrooms. Remove from pan and set aside. DON’T wash the pan!
  5. Assembly: Lightly dust the counter with flour and place the ball of dough on top. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a paper thin rectangle. Cut rounds using a cookie cutter (about 2 inches in diameter). If a round seems too thick, use the rolling pin to roll it out more thinly. Fill each round with a small amount of potato cheese mixture (less is more…). Fold the dough into a half moon shape and pinch the edges together well. If the dough feels sticky, flour your fingers. Use your index finger and thumb to create pleats. Put the finished pierogies in a single layer onto a tray or plate. Continue rolling and cutting and stuffing til all the dough is used. If there is any extra potato left, use it the next day for breakfast. If there is any dough left, wrap it tightly to use the next day. Or use the extra to make noodles.
  6. Cooking: Put a little more oil in the cast iron pan and heat over medium heat. Lay the pierogies in a single layer in the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Turn each one and continue cooking til the other sides are golden as well.

Serve immediately with caramelized onions & mushrooms and plain yoghurt. The addition of steamed broccoli turns it into a great dinner. Or beet tops. Or cabbage. Or….

Notes:

* Freeze uncooked pierogies in a single layer. Once they have frozen, they can be transferred into ziplock bags.

* it helps to have cool dry hands when forming the pierogies. Try not to overstuff them so that there is plenty of edge to pinch together.

pierogies I know. Most people boil pierogies. But we love them fried! And we don’t bother par-boiling them first. We’ve found that it just isn’t necessary.

We also don’t normally add mushrooms to the caramelized onions. But we had a couple of mushrooms in the fridge and decided to throw them in to use them up. Because it couldn’t be bad.

Couldn’t be bad?? Oh! Oh! Oh! It turns out that mushrooms in the caramelized onions are great! They’re so good that we may have to make sure there are always a few available mushrooms whenever we have pierogies!

And bacon. Let’s add bacon too:

The traditional (and indulgent) toppings of crispy crumbled bacon and sour cream really bring these perogies to life.
 
-Adell Shneer and The Test Kitchen, Potato Cheddar Perogies, Canadian Living Magazine

Bacon and sour cream!! How extravagant. But bacon and 2% yoghurt seems like an excellent idea.

But whatever garnish we add, we’re always going to make homemade pierogies! And I guess maybe I should also send a letter of thanks to the supermarket for removing our favourite brands. Who knew they were doing us such a wonderful service?!

Hmmm… it’s Ash Wednesday in two days; do you think that pierogies can count as Shroves for tomorrow?

 

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This entry was posted in equipment and techniques, food & drink, whine on by . pierogies

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